They are all over the world. Also in Altmark. But who are the Freemasons anyway? Part 1 of series
Altmark l Freemasons were always surrounded by a touch of mystery – space for some conspiracy theories, as outsiders do not understand symbols and rituals. So who are the masons and what are their goals? They are often asked questions. The beginning of a three-part series.
A compass and an angle are his symbols. But what do they mean? The circle and the angle stand for the circle of life and lead a straight, upright life.
The place of their meetings and associations is called a lodge. According to Duden, a box is a small, separate room, an area that is allowed for a group of only a few people. Incidentally, this can be traced back to the Stonemason Brotherhood in the early Middle Ages, who held their meetings and rituals in their dwelling huts, in English lodges.
Origin in scotland
The first mention of Freemasons is in the Exeter Cathedral documents in 1396 and Edinburgh No.1 in Scotland, the lodge is considered the oldest Masonic lodge in the world.
In 1717, on 24 June, St. John’s Day, which commemorates the birth of St. John the Baptist, merged four lodges in England to form the first Grand Lodge of Freemasons. This day is considered to be the founding date of modern Freemasonry and is considered its highest holiday worldwide.
After all, Freemasons around the world stand for freedom, equality, brotherhood, tolerance and humanity. Contrary to the general idea that Masonic lodges are reserved for only one elite group, they are accessible to members of all social classes. The general reservation is due to the fact that Freemasons also included many high-ranking personalities from politics, art, business, science, and the military. Along with Frederick II, Wilhelm I and Frederick III were the three German Crown chiefs of Freemason, as well as Georges Washington, Mark Twain, Kurt Tucholsky, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Wolfgang Mbus Mozart, Johann Wolfgang von Goeth, George Everest or Winston Churchill.
Whoever joins must be a man
Today it is said to have more than four million Freemasons worldwide. Of the five grand lodges in Germany, there are currently around 450 regional lodges with around 15,000 Freemasons. Whoever wants to join the Freemason must be a person who represents the humanist worldview of the Freemasons.
This is the stated goal of the Freemasonry to turn a good person into an even better one. Access to Freemasons is possible by contacting a lodge member who sees the person concerned as the property for the lodge, or contact is sought. Guest evening boxes provide an opportunity to gain an insight into the work.
The next stage is the examination of the applicant, referred to by the lodge as a “seeker”. A lodge member is assigned as a guarantor to the seeker who accompanies him on his first step.
Once the exam is completed, a secret ballot is decided as to who will be given entry into the box. Entry is complete with a solemn ceremony in which the Masonic Regalia is handed over, namely aprons and lodge badges. Only then can they participate actively in temple work.
The new member began his membership with the Apprentice level, the level of self-knowledge. As a journeyman he practices self-discipline and as a guru he wants to know about the ephemerality of human life. Each member of the lodge is bound by secrecy regarding ritual meetings. But it is good interaction, sociality, and worldwide solidarity that unites the members of the Freemasonry.
The first lodge at Altmark was established in 1775
On December 6, 1737, the first Masonic lodge was established in Hamburg. Only a year later, the Crown Prince of Prussia, who ruled Prussia’s fate as King Frederick the Great from 1740, joined the Freemasons at Rimsburg Castle. This laid the foundation for the Brandenburg-Prussian frameworks.
The historian Karlheinz Gerlach in his book “The Freemasons in Old Prussia 1738 – 1806” has dealt extensively with the subject as well as devoted his work to Stendall and Salzwedel.
Altmark has been related to this margraviate since when Brandenburg was founded and it was to the Prussian state that it later emerged from it. This was to take place nearly four decades before the first Masonic Lodge at Altmark was established.
Johannisloge “To the Golden Crown”
The captain of the Westphalian cavalry, Franz August Heinrich von Südthausen, convinced his brother Johann Gottfried Friedrich von Südhausen, who lived in Stendall, found a lodge in the city of Altmark under the constitution of the State Lodge, to which he was the authorized representative.
St. John’s Lodge “To the Golden Crown”, the hour of birth of the first Masonic Lodge at Stendall, was killed on July 7, 1775. A total of nine founding members are named.
From the beginning, Stendler Lodge was on weak legs. Around 1800 there were only 5300 people in Stendal. Since Stendall was a garrison town and had a battalion and two companies with approximately 800 people, the ratio of officers in the box was also significantly higher.
One advantage for the lodge initially was that it soon changed to its disadvantage. Due to the wars of the Bavarian succession, the regiments had to move out and were accompanied by several lodge members. Their places could not be filled with difficulty or only. Due to this decline in membership, the lodge could no longer be held on St. John’s Day in 1778.
After the troops returned, there were repeated quarrels with the formation of civil and military camps within the lodge. And with the division of Salgewell members, who no longer wanted to make the long trip to Stendal, the situation worsened for Stendler Lodge.
Stendall also had a women’s box from 1781
The defeat of Prussian-Saxon troops at Jena and Auerstedt against Napoleon’s army on 14 October 1806 had dire consequences for Stendall Lodge. On October 25, 1806, Stendall was captured by French troops and annexed to the Kingdom of Westphalia. The result was that Stendler Lodge ceased its work.
A feature for Stendall and also for Prussia was the establishment of a women’s box in the city in 1781. Dorothia Euliec Charlotte von Nobelsdorf was appointed Grand Master, the wife of Major General Alexander Frederick V. Nobledorff, who led the lodge of the Golden Crown at that time. Both lodges were independent, but the lodge was closely linked by members, quarters and finances.
Seven of the 22 members of the Temple of Friendship were married to members of the Golden Crown. Celebrations such as the St. John’s Festival were celebrated by both lodges. The St John Festival was the last meeting of the Stendall Women’s Box on June 24, 1789. His brief history ended on 25 June 1789.
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